Advent Live - Volume 2

Advent Live - Volume 2

Advent Live – Volume 2
Director of Music: 
Andrew Nethsingha
Organ Scholar: 
James Anderson-BesantGlen DempseyTimothy Ravalde
Release date: 
November 2020
  • Anne Denholm (harp)
  • Jakob Lindberg (archlute)
  • Ignacio Mañá Mesas (saxophone)
  • Hugh Cutting (counter tenor)
  • Louis Watkins (tenor)
  • Matthew Gibson, Simon Grant (bass)
Record label: 
St John's Cambridge/Signum
Catalogue number: 

The second in our series of live recordings from our Advent Carol Services, Advent Live - Volume 2 features recordings from our 2008, 2018 and 2019 services, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 since 1981.

This album includes many staples of the Advent repertoire, including Otto Goldschmitt's A tender shoot, a piece which features at the start of our Advent services each year as well as on our first commercial recording in 1958, Hear my prayer.

Since 2008, Andrew Nethsingha began the practice of commissioning a new work for each Advent service, which has been made possible by a generous donation by an anonymous donor. This album features four of those commissions: Gabriel Jackson's Vox clara ecce intonat (2013), Cecilia McDowall's A Prayer to St John the Baptist (2018), Judith Bingham's An Introduction to Hark, the glad sound (2019), and the first commission in the annual series, John McCabe's The last and greatest Herald.

Our first Advent Live album was released in October 2018.

Track list

  1. I am the day (Jonathan Dove)
  2. Bŏgŏroditsye Dyevo (Arvo Pärt)
  3. A Spotless Rose (Herbert Howells)
  4. A Prayer to St John the Baptist (Cecilia McDowall)
  5. Vox clara ecce intonat (Gabriel Jackson)
  6. The last and greatest Herald (John McCabe)
  7. Antiphon – O Wisdom (Traditional)
  8. Antiphon – O Adonai (Traditional)
  9. A tender shoot (Otto Goldschmidt)
  10. Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Hugo Distler)
  11. Out of your sleep (Anthony Milner)
  12. An introduction to Hark, the glad sound (Judith Bingham)
  13. Hymn – Hark, the glad sound (Tune: Bristol)
  14. There is no rose (Elizabeth Maconchy)
  15. Antiphon – O Root of Jesse (Traditional)
  16. Antiphon – O Key of David (Traditional)
  17. Ach so laß von mir dich finden (Georg Philipp Telemann)
  18. E'en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come (Paul Manz)
  19. The Linden Tree Carol (Traditional, arr. Reginald Jacques)
  20. Deo gracias (Benjamin Britten)
  21. Einklang (Hugo Wolf)
  22. Hymn – Lo! he comes with clouds descending (Tune: Helmsley, Descant: Christopher Robinson)
  23. Chorale Prelude 'Nun komm. der Heiden Heiland' BVW 661 (Johann Sebastian Bach)


Throughout the disc, the performances are uniformly excellent and the recording(s)... give a fine representation of Advent Sunday in St John’s College Chapel
It is a real album, the mystery and expectation of Advent coursing through a repertoire that never stoops below this ensemble's judicious idea of what constitutes high-quality music, whatever the century... The qualities of the choir hardly need repeating

Andrew Mellor, Gramophone

This is a fresh, stimulating holiday season program that should have a life far beyond the year 2020 when it was released

James Manheim, AllMusic

The fantastic balance of anthems, hymns and organ music leaps out in this arresting, fabulously performed Advent programme

BBC Music Magazine

Highlights? So many: Howells' 'A Spotless Rose' glows internally, ceding to the spicy organ that initiates Cecilia McDowall's spicy 'A Prayer to St John the Baptist' (commissioned by the choir for the 2018 service). Listen out for the keening soprano saxophone (Ignacio Mañá Mesas) in Gabriel Jackson's 'Vox clara ecce intonat'

Colin Clarke, Classical Explorer

There's some amazing stuff in this album... [of the Bingham] I think this is absolutely thrilling

Jeremy Sams, BBC Radio 3 Record Review

I found the variety and spiritual power of the music on volume two even more convincing than that of volume one, and I suspect it will become a regular part of my personal Advent celebrations in future years

Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International

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Recorded on
15 March 2022
  • Responses and Preces: Radcliffe
  • Psalm 18 vv. 1-6 (tone i)
  • Readings: Ezekiel 36.22-27, Acts 19.1-10
  • Howells (Collegium Regale)
  • Elgar: Give unto the Lord
  • Voluntary: Bach  Prelude in C minor

Latest news

Andrew Nethsingha (c) Ben Philips

The Director of Music at St John’s has been appointed as Organist and Master of Choristers at Westminster Abbey

Nethsingha is his own man and absolutely his own musician, which is why his choir continues to evolve and lead

Andrew Mellor, Gramophone